Steve Nash on Mike D’Antoni’s Genius

When I presented for Positive Coaching Alliance working with Ray Lokar, he often said that coaches work in the fish bowl; everyone watches the coach from the outside, often without knowledge of the environment, but the coach always is in front of an audience. This pressure from the fish bowl shapes many of the negative behaviors that we see from coaches: I once watched a coach who would yell loud enough for everyone in the audience to hear him, “Player, we practiced that yesterday for 20 minutes. How can you make that mistake?” There was no information; in essence, he was saying, “Look, I did everything that I could at practice and it is your child who is messing up, not me.” I was appalled, but I see this behavior to some degree fairly often.  […]

We need to develop players like in Europe

People often discuss player development and European basketball with me. Often, I am told, and I read, that we (coaches in the United States) need to develop players like in Europe. I don’t necessarily agree with the premise, but I often will engage in the discussions. When I do, it seems as though the coaches want a magic potion, because every change based on my experiences that I offer, they dismiss as unnecessary or impractical. Possible changes based on my experience: […]

Coach development, not coach education or certification

I imagine the following is based directly or indirectly on the writings of Mark O’Sullivan, Mark Upton, Richard Bailey, Stuart Armstrong, and others. If you spend enough time on social media and basketball blogs, someone will suggest that the United States is falling behind in basketball because of a lack of coach education. Now, there Read more about Coach development, not coach education or certification[…]

Making sense of generational arguments about skill development

I don’t understand the following argument:

“Players from previous generations had more skill.”

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“Players from previous generations were three-sport athletes.”

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“Players from previous generations played more pickup games.”

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“Players need to specialize earlier and train privately with individual coaches to improve their skills.” […]

Luck and landing a college coaching job

Seventeen years after I first was hired as an assistant college basketball coach, I was hired as a part-time head coach at the junior college level. I would like to think that I have earned the opportunity with my work and persistence, but the actual process of landing the job was good fortune and luck. Because many people ask how to get such and such job, here is my story (following my story of how I was hired to coach in Europe). […]

Two-ball drills, transfer and inspiration

Originally published in Hard2Guard Player Development Newsletter 6.4. Now available in Kindle and paperback. Subscribe to the weekly newsletter here.

After their practice on Monday, two teenagers from our women’s team worked along the baseline on a two-ball drill that I had introduced the previous week. This is my primary purpose for introducing challenging dribbling drills: To inspire players to practice on their own. We do not spend much time on dribbling. My men’s team generally practices dribbling on Thursdays when we have fewer players. With our skill workouts, we usually work on general dribbling in one of the two workouts per week. In the 11-12 hours of practice and workouts each week, we spend roughly 20 minutes on dribbling (of course, other drills, games, and scrimmages incorporate dribbling).  […]